Thursday, June 2, 2011

Public Comment Forum Proposed Regulations to Limit the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Maryland

In February 2011, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received laboratory confirmation that a white-tailed deer harvested in Maryland tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This was the first confirmed case of CWD in Maryland. A hunter in Allegany County reported taking the deer in November 2010 in Green Ridge State Forest. Maryland is now one of 21 states and Canadian provinces with CWD documented in deer, elk or moose.

Maryland has worked closely with wildlife professionals nationally and in adjacent states to identify the most effective means to limit the spread of this disease to other locations. As a result, the Wildlife and Heritage Service is proposing regulations to prohibit the feeding of deer in the CWD Management Area, where the positive case was found. Regulations are also being proposed to restrict the movement of hunter-harvested deer parts from the CWD Management Area.

“Our goal with these regulation proposals is to slow the spread of this disease to other areas in Maryland and nearby states,” said DNR’s Game Program Manager Pete Jayne. “We have focused these restrictions to be effective and enforceable while minimizing impacts to the strong deer hunting traditions found in Western Maryland,” Jayne added.

The proposed regulations are summarized below and are open to public comment until close of business (5:00 pm) on June 16, 2011:

CWD Management Area

That portion of Allegany County noted as Private Land Code 233 in the annual Guide to Hunting and Trapping. This section includes Green Ridge State Forest east of Flintstone and Oldtown. 

Feeding Ban

Prohibit the feeding of forest game birds and mammals in the CWD Management Area. The proposal would ban feeding on a year-round basis and includes feed placed for non-hunting purposes. The proposal would ban placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering fruit, vegetables, nuts, hay, corn, wheat, other feed, salt or other mineral-based attractants.

  • Urine and gland-based lures would still be permitted.

  • Normal agricultural practices and operations would be exempted from this ban, including the planting and harvesting of crops and livestock care.

  • Forest game birds and mammals are defined as wild turkeys, grouse, deer, bears and squirrels.

  • The normal feeding of song birds would remain legal.

  • Carcass Transport Restrictions

    The transportation of certain parts of deer carcasses out of the CWD Management Area is restricted unless the carcass is being transported directly to a deer processor within the county.
    The following parts of deer may be transported out of the CWD Management Area:

  • Antlers with no meat or soft tissue attached;

  • Finished taxidermy mounts;

  • Hides when clean with no head attached;

  • Boneless meat; and

  • Skull plates cleaned of all meat and brain tissue.

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